Evian Championship 2017: Sung Hyun Park Takes 2-Shot Lead After Friday's Action

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 15, 2017

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 15:  Sung Hyun Park of South Korea plays a shot during the weather delayed first round of The Evina Championship at Evian Resort Golf Club on September 15, 2017 in Evian-les-Bains, France.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Leading 2017 LPGA money winner Sung Hyun Park shot an eight-under 63 in the first round of the Evian Championship on Friday at Evian Resort Golf Club in Evian-les-Bains, France, to take the solo lead in the final major of the LPGA season. 

Inclement weather caused the cancellation of Thursday's first round, resulting in the LPGA making the Evian Championship a three-round, 54-hole event.

The 23-year-old South Korean holds a two-stroke lead over Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn, who carded a six-under 65.

Here is a look at the top of the leaderboard with one round in the books, courtesy of LPGA.com:

1. Sung Hyun Park: -8 (63)

2. Moriya Jutanugarn: -6 (65)

T3. Anna Nordqvist: -5 (66)

T3. Katherine Kirk: -5 (66)

T5. Marina Alex: -4 (67)

T5. In-Kyung Kim: -4 (67)

T5. Jessica Korda: -4 (67)

Park's round represented a massive turnaround from Thursday, but any scores accumulated before play was halted were scrapped.

According to ESPN's Jason Sobel, Park was six-over yesterday, but the score didn't count.

In stark contrast to Thursday, Park was nearly flawless Friday with seven birdies, one eagle and just one bogey, as seen in this snapshot of her scorecard from the LPGA Tour's official Twitter account:

Park was strong on the front nine, but she seemed to get better as the round went on, playing her final nine holes at six-under.

As evidenced by this highlight package from her round, Park was essentially automatic with the putter, sinking multiple birdie putts from intermediate and long range:

The conditions were significantly better Friday, which explains why Park was able to turn the page on her Thursday struggles.

Despite her fantastic round, Park isn't yet running away with the tournament due to a strong performance by Jutanugarn.

The LPGA Rookie of the Year has never finished better than 10th in a major, but she is in the hunt one-third of the way through the tournament thanks to some quality approach shots:

Jessica Korda and Marina Alex are the low Americans after one round of play, as they trail Park by four strokes at four-under, and are tied for fifth place.

Korda was in the lead Thursday when the decision was made to wipe out the scores, and she said the following about that decision Friday, per Alex Myers of Golf Digest"I wish it wasn't scrapped, but welcome to golf."

Despite the disappointment, Korda was in good spirits and happy to be back on the course after missing time due to injury:

A talented field is in pursuit of Park with two rounds left to play, but the Korean star is clearly the odds-on favorite.

She nearly captured her first career major title at last year's Evian Championship before settling for a second-place finish.

This year, she won the U.S. Women's Open and has four career top-10 finishes in majors in just eight starts.

Park was the beneficiary of some good fortune in having her initial score disallowed, and she took full advantage of the second chance afforded to her Friday.

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